Long Distance

Flash fiction challenge: 500 word romance using the word “spring.”


I’ve done it again. Just like I always do. My mouth was in gear but my brain was in neutral, saying words I didn’t really mean. It’s hard for me; I’m not like you, I’m much more emotional. You twist me around like a coiled spring, wind me up like a clockwork doll. You trip me up, and spin me around, and tie me up in knots. And then you wonder why I fly about in all directions when you let me go.

You said I was being dramatic, kicking off at the slightest thing, and I felt like you were being unfair. You don’t understand why I get cross, why I find it hard to see you go. I’m frustrated because I miss you, damn it, and it feels like recently you’re hardly ever here.

Take this month, for example. Ten days up in Auckland, another seven down in Christchurch. Sparring in the boardrooms with great white sharks in suits. Deflecting and asserting, explaining and reporting. Often doing the job of two people for half as much the pay. I couldn’t do it, I know that much. The first hint of a mansplain and I’d snarl and snatch them by the throat. I don’t have your patience and diplomacy, your willingness to humour idiocy. I definitely don’t have the skills to play The Game.

And I hate it all because it takes you far away from me.

We’re not alike, that’s for definite, but they do say opposites attract. You anchor me, you balance me, you keep me grounded even though sometimes you also drive me mad. I’m the brash one, the loud one, the one who drinks too much at parties and dances on the table to Joan Jett songs. You could be embarrassed, but you never are. You celebrate my craziness just as I bathe in your calmness. Together we find the equilibrium in ourselves.

Our last conversation face-to-face was an argument. I said unkind things to you that aimed to hurt. We’ve texted since, of course, but that’s not the same. I’ve done some thinking and I need to make amends. So here I am, waiting at the gates in Wellington; my long curls are loose, I’m wearing that blue dress you always liked, clutching a bouquet of vibrant sunflowers in my fist.

I feel like a character in a Richard Curtis movie, the one everyone wants so desperately to believe is wonderful, but deep down knows is terribly problematic. But there is one bit which does ring true, right at the very start. An unseen narrator tells us emotions are always the most genuine at airports. Whether at arrivals or departures, you can always feel the love.

I spin the wedding ring on my finger. Wait for your plane to land. Fifteen years this Sunday, that’s how long our glorious fire has burned. I treasure every single moment, good and bad. Whatever trials life throws at us, I know that will never change.

I watch you as you grab your suitcase from the baggage claim. You turn, our eyes meet, we rush towards each other, surging like two magnets powerless to resist the other’s pull. This kiss, like every kiss we share when you come home, says everything we struggle to express with words.

I’ve missed you. I love you. Thank you for all that you are.

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